American Elephants

“Struggle Down In Houston” by The Elephant's Child

Donations for the Houston flooding are pouring in, and Houston people face a massive clean up, and massive grief and expense.  The situation is becoming clearer as people begin to sum up the damages. Hurricane Harvey was a big one. It had nothing to do with “global warming”, though the global warming enthusiasts are just sure that it does. It came after a long respite of nine years. Houston has a long, long record of hurricane and flooding damage. Here are pictures from past disasters.

Engineers have been warning for years that the city is a flood disaster in the making,. A University of Texas at Austin civil engineer, Robert Gilbert, said “Houston is very flat. There’s is no way for the water to drain out.” Texas Governor Greg Abbot suggested that Houston residents who had somewhere to go should think about evacuating, but Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged them not to evacuate. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina that hit Louisiana so hard, another hurricane followed and Houston residents were urged to evacuate and caused the traffic jam of the century.

The city’s flood system is supposed to protect the public from a 100-year storm, but that is based on a rainfall total of 13 inches in 24 hours. In an average year, Houston gets 50 inches of rain — as much as Harvey would deliver in some parts of the city. The muddy rivers—the San Jacinto and Buffalo Bayou have dams, but they were built mostly for storage, not flood control. Lake Conroe, a reservoir 43 miles north of the city has a capacity of 430,000 acre feet. The river authority which manages water supplies knew Harvey was coming, but chose not to release water in advance, because it could have caused flooding even before the storm hit, but by Monday they had no choice but to open the flood gates to send another 79.141  cubic feet of water to flooded Houston every second. There have been eight deaths, and the rescue efforts of men with boats have surely prevented many more.

Media coverage has been interesting. Melania Trump was criticized for wearing stiletto heels when she boarded the plane to go to Texas. She changed to trousers and sneakers when they arrived. President Trump was criticized for going to Houston, and even for donating a million dollars of his own money to Houston relief. Some days you just can’t win. The media no longer seems to be quite sane.

After they have drained the city and mopped up, hopefully they will have learned from this disaster and will start to plan seriously for the next one, but there will probably be new people in charge, and funding will be so exhausted that no one will want to think about spending on preparation.


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